How to Eat More Pumpkin Seeds

The Triumphant Green Seed Within: How to Eat More Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds: a seed, wrapped in a shell, wrapped in slimy pumpkin guts, wrapped in a hallowed, iconic orange sphere, wrapped in an enigma.

Do you eat them?

Pumpkins are most often bought for the purpose of garish, ghoulish decoration. Few venture past the layer of Halloween accessorizing to enjoy the nourishing flesh of this seasonal squash, and even fewer endeavour to crack the hard hull to seize the triumphant green seed within.

What a shame, ‘cause his little green seed has super powers.

Not super powers of the unearthly, magickal realm, but powers grounded in science. Owing to all the nutrition packed into their cute little package, pumpkin seeds are a true superfood!

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of omega 3’s and protein, and high in phytochemicals like chlorophyll (that’s what makes them green!) and phytosterols, and are rich in zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

Let’s take a closer look at why you might want to include more pumpkin seeds in your diet:

Plant Protein

Pumpkin seeds are 25% protein!  Per quarter cup, these seeds provide 9 grams of protein, which is more than almonds, cashews, walnuts, or peanuts. Generally, seeds are higher in protein than nuts.

Omega 3’s

Pumpkin seeds contain plant omega 3’s called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These fats can be converted by the body to form the essential EPA and DHA fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation and form the structure of healthy eyes, cell membranes, and our brain and nervous system.

Prostate Support

Possibly partly due to their high zinc content, a nutrient essential for the maintenance of the prostate, both whole pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have been used to treat prostate issues [1]. Pumpkin seed oil has also been used effectively in combination with saw palmetto to reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia [2].

Parasitosis

Curcubitin, a rare amino acid found in pumpkin seeds, is the active constituent responsible for the anti-parasitic and anthelmintic (worm-expelling) properties of the seed. Pumpkin seeds, often prepared ground up in a mixture of milk and honey, are used as a remedy across many cultures to expel worms and parasites.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in naturally occurring plant-based estrogens (phytoestrogens), which may help modulate some of the symptoms found in menopausal women thought to be due to declining rates of estrogen. One study showed that consuming pumpkin seeds may increase good “HDL” cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women. [3]

Sleep Aid & Mood Booster

Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that converts into serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that, in the right levels, gives us a sense of wellbeing. In turn, serotonin can then be converted into melatonin, a hormone that lets our body know when it is time to sleep (melatonin begins to rise when darkness begins to fall). Studies show that a tryptophan boost, especially paired with some carbohydrate to increase absorption, before bed can reduce sleeplessness and insomnia [4]. You can try eating a handful of pumpkin seeds an hour or two before bed, along with a small piece of fruit (as your carbohydrate).

Recipes

Easy Peasy Seedy Crackers 

Nutrient-Rich Salad Booster

Sweet & Salty Pumpkin Seed Coconut Bars


Alex Picot-Annand, BA (Psych), Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach

www.alexpicotannand.com

Resources

  1. https://www.dropbox.com/s/0bsf403byfjzfon/Medicinal%20and%20biological%20potential%20of%20pumpkin%20an%20updated%20review.pdf
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20098586
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21545273
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16053244